om-150x150Osama Manzar is the Founder-Director of Digital Empowerment Foundation and Chair of Manthan and mBillionth Awards. He is member, advisory board, at Alliance for Affordable Internet and has co-authored NetCh@kra–15 Years of Internet in India and Internet Economy of India. He tweets @osamamanzar. Manzar’s complete bio can be read here.

Circular Economy – Making good of what goes around, comes around

As the world is turning more digital every passing day, the problem of e-waste also increases. The increasing use of electronic devices and rapid development in these devices means there is more electronic waste lying outside the cities especially in the developing world. The number of new digital goods sold annually worldwide is over six billion, and it is increasing at a rapid pace.

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How Free is the Media?

Despite being considered a cornerstone of democracies, media, has also played an active role in stoking ethnic killings, and genocide. Indian media is mirroring behavioural patterns under the garb of freedom of speech by stoking hatred against minorities as evident in the recent past. This complex dilemma of freedom of speech and abuse of power needs to be addressed on a large platform like RightsCon to ideate solutions.

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We are the digital designers fighting information poverty

The Legatum Center at MIT has been conducting research on Innovation-driven enterprises (IDE) that are unlocking significant business and societal value by solving systemic problems that conventional business models have not been able to solve. In that research, Legatum Center included the Digital Empowerment Foundation as an example of IDE’s. Following is a compilation from the interviews with Osama Manzar.

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Osama Manzar and Digital Empowerment Foundation

It’s interesting that we must share and narrate this story with so many friends throughout time. It is hard to begin with describing who I am, especially when there has been an evolution of thinking and applying and a growth of consciousness over time. One is never the same person they were yesterday, and they will never be the same person tomorrow, in a mixed manner. It could be good or bad.

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Providing Digital Services in Unconnected Regions of Telangana

Chouttupal is a one hour drive from Hyderabad on the Hyderabad-Vijayawada highway. Jagdish, Digital Empowerment Foundation’s project officer in Chouttupal had sent me the location of DEF’s centre in Chinna Kondur village near Chouttupal. As I drove on the busy highway I wondered why DEF had opened a centre so close to the city as we are known to be present in remote locations.

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Making Villages Smart

Jakhopur is a small village near Tijara. As one enters the village one can often be welcomed by camels with a cart tied to them navigating through the narrow lanes of the village. The narrow lanes meet at an intersection where a group of men can be seen sitting and chatting. The dark blue building where they are sitting has a logo that says ‘Smartpur’. Shahrukh Khan came and gave me a warm welcome as I walked towards the blue building. He is the Centre Coordinator for DEF in Tijara block.

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Creating Community Leaders in Barabanki

Digital Empowerment Foundation has been working in the district of Barabanki for the last seven years. With one hub center in the village of Saidanpur, DEF has expanded to 60 villages in the district through their entrepreneurs. These entrepreneurs are digital trainers, digital service providers, weavers, teachers and community leaders who have made community development their primary goal.

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Chatbot: Tool towards debunking the misinformation and fake news

Over the past years India has seen some of the most adverse fallouts of online misinformation. Whether it is the form of offline violence, social panic, or targeted campaigns of harassment, the problematics of misinformation are rather complex and diverse society like India. Fact-checking and media and information literacy (MIL) have emerged as potential strategies for countering misinformation.

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Blurring boundaries with Social media

With all its pros and cons, social media has been proved to be successful in creating a democratic space in terms of giving platform to people from all walks of life, often blurring the boundaries of what is explored below the rural and urban divide. The prime example of this has to be how one genre of videos — cooking videos — that are operated by the (often most) ‘villagers’ of the country have propped up in just couple of years.

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